playing for keeps

the blog of g.a. matiasz

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Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

Winnowing the Wheat from the Chaff

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on November 26, 2017

I’ve written and published two books in twenty-two years. At this rate, I’ll be lucky to complete a third book before I die. In light of that, I’ve gone through several score of potential story ideas at various stages of development–from basic idea to completed rough draft–in my word processing program Scrivener, winnowing wheat from chaff to select out a handful of candidates to work on.

I’ve come up with four possibilities, all science fiction. Two are completed rough drafts of novelettes (7,500-17,499 words) I could try to boost up to novella length (17,500-39,999 words). One is set in a post-apocalyptic far future where the main character, an ex-soldier with various biological military upgrades, meets up with someone who claims to be her brother. The second is a time travel/alternate universe story premised on the early, complete assassination of Lenin in an alternate time line.

I also have two promising ideas for full-length novels (40,000+ words), neither of which are anywhere near completion however. One is set entirely in 1968, the year I got politics, which has the main character traveling around to various iconic/historic events, with a sci-fi twist. The second is near-future science fiction in which neanderthals haven’t gone extinct but live secretly amid regular humans on the verge of self-extinction.

The incomplete novels would take a lot of time to finish, but they have the greatest potential story-wise. The novelettes would require extensive rewrites, but they’re basically done. My plan is to concentrate on these four pieces. Which will be difficult because I always have fiction stories in reserve, like two possible, incomplete sequels to my latest novel. One is set five years after the current book, the other a century later, and both are novelette/novella in length. Also, in addition to the archive of fiction ideas and snippets archived in Scrivener, I’m coming up with new ideas all the time. I’ll continue to write my non-fiction MRR columns, of course, but narrowing my focus in the fiction realm seems best.

I’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

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New Maps of Hell: 2042 c.e.

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on October 1, 2016

These four maps depict part of the world in 2042 c.e., during the scope of my near-future science fiction novel, 1% Free. I’m reducing the three regional maps to fit into the larger North American map, which will then be one side of the presentation/swag for my Thursday, November 3, 6 pm Book Launch at the Book Passage Bookstore in the San Francisco Ferry Building.
img_01871) San Francisco
img_01882) Los Angeles
img_01893) Palm Springs
img_01904) North America

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DRAFT: END TIME reprinted by 62 MILE PRESS

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on March 24, 2016

1st printing cover of END TIME drawn by TIM GONZALES

1st printing cover of END TIME drawn by TIM GONZALES

2nd printing cover of END TIME built by JOHN YATES at STEALWORKS.

2nd printing cover of END TIME built by JOHN YATES at STEALWORKS.

FOR FACEBOOK PAGES:

I am reprinting my prescient, near-future thriller END TIME: NOTES ON THE APOCALYPSE through my publishing business 62 MILE PRESS. Written in a slashing, evocative style, END TIME received rave reviews in underground and small press circles in 1994. (for facebook writer page)

62 MILE PRESS is reprinting the prescient, near-future thriller END TIME: NOTES ON THE APOCALYPSE by G.A. MATIASZ. Written in a slashing, evocative style, END TIME received rave reviews in underground and small press circles in 1994. (for facebook business page)

Reprint Date: May 5, 2016

California, 2007.

“The storm black Hooligans took Van Ness, but never made the jog off to the park, Instead, they massed, some one hundred thousand strong, up to the hastily formed police blockade on Van Ness and Grove, then east back around on Market. They stopped in fact. March peace monitors, realizing what was happening, evaporated from around the autonomous columns to beat hasty retreats up Grove, Fell, Oak and Page with the march’s stragglers. People pulled on masks, bandanas, ski masks and balaklavas. Sunglasses hid eyes. Adrenaline once more raced through Greg, somewhere in the middle of that black mass, as he pulled up his own ‘kerchief. He watched a gauntly beautiful girl, a rare, anti-war Null, put her large black scarf over her gold electroplated cheek plates, before putting on shades in synch with hers…”

It’s not just sex, drugs and rock’n’roll!

“A wing of fighter jets, low over Nimitz Field, shrieked toward Oakland. Toward Jack London Square and the dual battle laser positions on Oakland’s inner harbor. People were running around the tower then, running away from the Harbor as fast as was humanly possible. A second roar, and surface-to-air missile batteries leapt into action to lay up a defensive curtain of heat seeking rockets. The jets broke into evasive action. Battle laser auroras danced up ultraviolet into the descending sun as the weapons primed. Two jets looped back tightly and managed to let loose their own rockets before having to dodge again. The harbor erupted under the jet strike, counterpointed quickly by one jet taking a direct hit and another spinning off, minus one wing. The battle laser fired. The precise x-ray beam could not be seen. But it produced a sharp fold in the air as it pierced across the bay and stripped the top off San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid…”

Armageddon’s been in effect!

“For a brief moment Marcus witnessed a phantasm, bathed in the smoky light of its own making. The creature was humanoid, dressed in a form fitting, single-piece, eel-gray body suit. The hands were gloved, with thick seams running up the arms and shoulders. And the head was entirely, strangely helmeted. It was a type of skull-tight ski mask, fitted with shear goggles and headphones, and crested with a soft, gun-metal colored apparatus. The goggles pulsed with that on-edge-of-sight light Marcus had observed seconds before, from under the door.

“‘Freeze,’ Joe yelled, crouched and aimed.

“An invisible light, apprehendable by a sense more visceral than sight and tailored minutely to Joe’s shape,streaked with precision from the refractive goggles, cookie cutting Joe perfectly. Joe exploded backwards…”

END TIME: NOTES ON THE APOCALYPSE:

Greg Kovinski, the novel’s protagonist, lives in interesting times. War and civil war rage across the former Soviet Union and much of the globe. The United States is fighting a sophisticated high tech counterinsurgency war in southern Mexico, against a popular revolution claiming the tradition of Zapata, in order to preserve the North American free trade zone. In Alabaster, a small town north of San Francisco, a draft-aged Greg, and a group of anti-war college students, gain possession of enough bomb grade riemanium to build a nuclear weapon several times more powerful than the one detonated over Nagasaki. As Greg struggles to “do the right thing” with his deadly power, friends turn out to be thieves, civil unrest rages, and the City of Oakland rises in revolution to become the 21st century’s Paris Commune.

FOR WEBSITES/BLOGS:

I am reprinting my prescient, near-future thriller END TIME: NOTES ON THE APOCALYPSE through my publishing business 62 MILE PRESS. Written in a slashing, evocative style, END TIME received rave reviews in underground and small press circles in 1994. (for personal blog and author website)

62 MILE PRESS is reprinting the prescient, near-future thriller END TIME: NOTES ON THE APOCALYPSE by G.A. MATIASZ. Written in a slashing, evocative style, END TIME received rave reviews in underground and small press circles in 1994. (for publishing website)

Reprint Date: May 5, 2016

California, 2007.

The storm black Hooligans took Van Ness, but never made the jog off to the park, Instead, they massed, some one hundred thousand strong, up to the hastily formed police blockade on Van Ness and Grove, then east back around on Market. They stopped in fact. March peace monitors, realizing what was happening, evaporated from around the autonomous columns to beat hasty retreats up Grove, Fell, Oak and Page with the march’s stragglers. People pulled on masks, bandanas, ski masks and balaklavas. Sunglasses hid eyes. Adrenaline once more raced through Greg, somewhere in the middle of that black mass, as he pulled up his own ‘kerchief. He watched a gauntly beautiful girl, a rare, anti-war Null, put her large black scarf over her gold electroplated cheek plates, before putting on shades in synch with hers…

It’s not just sex, drugs and rock’n’roll!

A wing of fighter jets, low over Nimitz Field, shrieked toward Oakland. Toward Jack London Square and the dual battle laser positions on Oakland’s inner harbor. People were running around the tower then, running away from the Harbor as fast as was humanly possible. A second roar, and surface-to-air missile batteries leapt into action to lay up a defensive curtain of heat seeking rockets. The jets broke into evasive action. Battle laser auroras danced up ultraviolet into the descending sun as the weapons primed. Two jets looped back tightly and managed to let loose their own rockets before having to dodge again. The harbor erupted under the jet strike, counterpointed quickly by one jet taking a direct hit and another spinning off, minus one wing. The battle laser fired. The precise x-ray beam could not be seen. But it produced a sharp fold in the air as it pierced across the bay and stripped the top off San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid…

Armageddon’s been in effect!

For a brief moment Marcus witnessed a phantasm, bathed in the smoky light of its own making. The creature was humanoid, dressed in a form fitting, single-piece, eel-gray body suit. The hands were gloved, with thick seams running up the arms and shoulders. And the head was entirely, strangely helmeted. It was a type of skull-tight ski mask, fitted with shear goggles and headphones, and crested with a soft, gun-metal colored apparatus. The goggles pulsed with that on-edge-of-sight light Marcus had observed seconds before, from under the door.

“Freeze,” Joe yelled, crouched and aimed.

An invisible light, apprehendable by a sense more visceral than sight and tailored minutely to Joe’s shape,streaked with precision from the refractive goggles, cookie cutting Joe perfectly. Joe exploded backwards…

END TIME: NOTES ON THE APOCALYPSE:

Greg Kovinski, the novel’s protagonist, lives in interesting times. War and civil war rage across the former Soviet Union and much of the globe. The United States is fighting a sophisticated high tech counterinsurgency war in southern Mexico, against a popular revolution claiming the tradition of Zapata, in order to preserve the North American free trade zone. In Alabaster, a small town north of San Francisco, a draft-aged Greg, and a group of anti-war college students, gain possession of enough bomb grade riemanium to build a nuclear weapon several times more powerful than the one detonated over Nagasaki. As Greg struggles to “do the right thing” with his deadly power, friends turn out to be thieves, civil unrest rages, and the City of Oakland rises in revolution to become the 21st century’s Paris Commune.

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New Year: Reviving This Blog

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on January 1, 2015

Yes, New Years resolutions! I do them, starting with resolving to revive this blog. Most recently, I stopped in September of last year because I was deep into finishing my second novel. More about that in a future post, for now I’m committing to posting at least once a week to this, my personal blog.

The idea here is not to get more hits or followers, but to write more. My other blog, my political blog, more or less takes care of itself since I made the commitment to write, and then to post, my monthly Maximum Rocknroll columns there. And my novel rewrite, which is going on its second year, is close to being done. The manuscript will go to the editor I hired for a final line-by-line edit at the end of January. So that leaves this blog, and my writing in general.

I write for personal pleasure, therapy, and expression. I’ve written since I was 12 years old and, except for a period of heavy-duty depression, I continue to write as often as I can. I hope to write until I die.
writing

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Backyard office

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on May 31, 2014

So, the story goes, Percy Spencer was mucking about in a laboratory at Raytheon when he accidentally spilled a cup full of dried corn kernels he intended to heat up into popcorn on the stove. All of a sudden, the kernels all over the lab floor started to inexplicably pop into popcorn. Spencer had discovered commercially usable microwaves, which led to the invention of the microwave oven. But this wasn’t so much an “aha moment” as it was a “yikes! moment.”
GAM_backyard1
Pictured above is my outdoor backyard office setup. Here’s my 13-inch, Mid 2011 MacBook Air encased in its Kensington locking case. The laptop is plugged into an outdoor socket behind the bench. And on the arm of the bench next to it is my “belly blanket,” a blanket intended to be placed on the computer user’s lap beneath the user’s laptop in order shield the user’s body from harmful microwave radiation. Part of the Body Armor line of products that help reduce or eliminate microwave radiation from nearby sources, I’m pictured below with belly blanket and laptop in action.
GAM_backyard2
Clearly, we are all being zapped by microwaves and other types of electromagnetic radiation everywhere all the time. Radiation from nearby sources (cell phones, laptops, utility smart meters, etc) are the most problematic, but the microwave radiation that we call “wifi” is also an issue. An increasing number of people claim that they are suffering adverse health effects from exposure to wifi signals, and there is increasing research into the carcinogenic dangers involved in all microwave radiation. That said, this outdoor office setup of mine would not be possible without an extremely powerful Belkin 6000 Router. I can access the internet 300 feet from the router, through walls and floors, as I surf and type away in my backyard, enjoying a mild spring day.
GAM_backyard3
These little guys kept me company as I worked. They’re hardly worried about exposure to electromagnetic radiation. I, in contrast, do worry about the potential for cancer and other health issues from the use of my cell phone, laptop and other electronic devices. We all die, sooner or later. Not only would I prefer it to be later, but I’d also like it to be quietly, painlessly, in my sleep. The thought of cooking my insides with the wifi microwaves from my cell phone or laptop, and dying a slow, painful, lingering death from radiation induced cancer is not at all pleasant.

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Hey, Ho, Let’s Go!

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on May 26, 2007

I spent the last three days creating and perfecting the website, “What’s Left?,” for the mostly monthly political columns I write for Maximum Rocknroll under the name “Lefty” Hooligan. (check here) I learned quite a bit in the process, so constructing “Playing for Keeps” for my personal blogsite was a snap. I’m still not completely happy with this theme, but it will do.

“What’s Left?” piggybacks on the blog format, allowing me to post my columns on the web as I write them. It will also be a place for limited archiving of my past columns. The idea here is to get some web exposure for the columns in a way that allows comments and feedback. I’ve written “What’s Left?” for MRR now for 15 years. It’s pretty much taken for granted, and raises little commentary or controversy.

“Playing for Keeps” is intended as a true blog. It’s also intended to inspire me to write more frequently, on a wider range of subjects. I’m new to blogging, so we’ll see how it goes.

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